More than £1 million has now been raised to help men and women from Independent church backgrounds train for gospel ministry.
In a statement, the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (FIEC) said it has been able to use its training fund to offer financial support to more than 30 churches and nearly 40 individuals since its launch in 2011.
The fund enables churches to employ a trainee to learn more about gospel ministry as they serve alongside an experienced pastor, while individuals can be helped with expensive course fees and accommodation.
Trevor Archer, training director for the FIEC, said the fund was one of the ways FIEC can help more people from Independent churches into full-time gospel ministry.
He said, ‘The effect of the fund has been considerable. It has encouraged churches to step out in new gospel ventures, while individuals can at last see a clearer route into training and church ministry previously lacking within FIEC.
‘In tandem with the fund, the creation of the Hub Conference (a conference for those discerning the call into ministry) has provided a “meeting point” where both churches and individuals can receive practical advice, support and encouragement in ministry training’.
So far the FIEC training fund has distributed nearly £900,000 in grants since 2011 because of money donated by generous churches and individuals. On average churches receive grants of £9500 a year with individuals getting approximately £5000 a year.